Author with killer instinct comes to Stratford

Profile shots of author Derek Landy.
Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

Profile shots of author Derek Landy. Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015 - Credit: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

What do you do when you wake up with the horrifying vision that a 16-year-old girl’s parents are plotting to kill her?

Author Derek Landy will be signing his new book Demon Head at Stratford Picture House onTuesday, Sep

Author Derek Landy will be signing his new book Demon Head at Stratford Picture House onTuesday, September 1 at 3pm - Credit: Archant

Well, you write a book of course.

A screenwriter by trade, Derek Landy hit the authorial road running with his debut work, the thriller series, Skulduggery Pleasant. The books sold five million copies in 36 languages – a mean feat for a man who was working on his family’s vegetable farm when he got catapaulted into fame.

After seven intense years and 11 best-selling books, the 40-year-old Dubliner turned his attention to his latest work, Demon Head – the first in the supernatural trilogy.

“Effectively it’s only my second book, so it’s a hard one to tackle.


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“After the title came to my mind, I thought: there’s only one place you can have a road trip, and that’s America.”

The author puts the horror-tinged tone of his output down to a youth shaped by the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

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“The whole trilogy is one big tip of the hat to American horror influences,” he said.

Responding to how he made the transition from film writer to novelist, he added:

“I liked screenplays because they were 100 pages long, you write down the middle of the page, and there’s a long blank space – perfect for my attention span.”

But Derek wanted to have the ultimate authorial control, something you only get from writing books.

“I was ready to assume full responsibility for all the flaws and wonderful parts of whatever I did.”

Demon Head centres around a 16-year-old American girl, Amber, whose journey of discovery is pinned against a backdrop of killer cars, vampires and undead serial killers. On his protagonist’s parents being potential killers: “The idea just struck me as very strong and really creepy - and against the natural order of things.”

Derek will soon be on tour in Ireland and the UK but finds it a “discombobulating” experience.

“You spend six months on your own and then suddenly your up on stage, talking to people. It’s such a shock.” But on meeting fans for whom his books have acted as a springboard into reading, he adds: “It’s the best job in the world.”

Demon Head is published with HarperCollins Children’s Books. Derek will be signing copies at the Stratford Picture House on Tuesday, September 1 at 4pm. The signing is organised by Newham Bookshop.

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